A broad coalition of privacy groups, think tanks, technology companies and academics has issued a statement that asks to update federal law in the US. In particular it asks to define the rules that define government access to email and private files stored on the internet. The coalition consists of:
AOL / Google / ACLU / American Library association / Americans for tax reform / Association of research libraries / AT&T / Center of financial privacy and human rights / Competitive enterprise institute / Citizens against government waste / CCIA / CDT / eBay / EFF / ITIF / Integra Telecom / Intel / Loopt / Microsoft / Netcoalition.com / The progress and freedom foundation / Salesforce.com
The goals is too preserve privacy rights while ensuring law enforcement agencies can carry out investigations. The coalition bases its statement on the fact that existing law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), dates from 1986 and has not been significantly updated since.
“Technology has changed dramatically in the last 20 years, but the law has not,” said Jim Dempsey, Vice President for Public Policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, who has led the coalition effort. “The traditional standard for the government to search your home or office and read your mail or seize your personal papers is a judicial warrant. The law needs to be clear that the same standard applies to email and documents stored with a service provider, while at the same time be flexible enough to meet law enforcement needs.”
The short video below gives an explanation of the challenges with the existing law and the requests from the coalition.
Picture: Stock Exchange | Spex | Chris Chidsey